Robert OliverContributing columnist
July 4, 2012
Becoming a child of God is a one time act, but rather than an end, this is just the beginning of what is supposed to be an entire life of living as a child of God. This truth can be likened to marriage. Getting married is something that can be done in just a few minutes, but a marriage is an everyday way of life. When one becomes a believer, he or she is not already the bride of Christ, but has the power to become such. John said that believers have the “power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). The apostle Paul said that the gospel was “the power of God unto salvation” for believers (Rom. 1:16). But, once one has been baptized into Christ, he or she has the responsibility to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). The word “walk” is a continuous action verb. It requires a daily life of conducting oneself in a certain manner. When John wrote that we are to “walk in the light”, the same is true, it is an everyday way of conduct.
Concerning marriage, we all understand what faithfulness is in a marriage. Yet, it seems that many fail to understand that the term means the same when it comes to serving the Lord. A husband must live as a husband, a wife must live as a wife and a Christian must live as a Christian. Some have the idea that once one becomes a child of God, that person can never be lost. That is just about as ridiculous as to say than once one is married, they are always married. From the very first people in the Bible, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we have illustration after illustration of those who became God’s children, but then failed to live the life as such and were cast out. Even one of the Lord’s chosen apostles, Judas, failed to continue with Him to the end. “Faithfulness” is the word that describes what we are to be.
Faithfulness does not mean perfection. It is a simple fact that all will sin; none will walk perfectly. John, writing to Christians said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:8, 10). Yet, for the child of God, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). So what does faithfulness mean? As already stated, we know what it means in a marriage and it means the same thing in our relationship with the Lord. Jesus once asked, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant?” (Matt. 24:45). The answer is seen in the following verse, “that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matt. 24:46). It is simply a life of service to the Lord, no matter the outward circumstances of life. In the letter to the church at Smyrna, the Lord said, “be thou faithful unto death…” (Rev. 2:10). In that case, there was a very real chance that they would die if they remained faithful, yet if that was what it required of them, then death it must be. As in marriage, “in sickness and in health, in riches and in poverty”, we are to cling to the Lord and be faithful to Him.
Though faithfulness does not mean perfection, that does not mean that one can do just anything nor that one can do that which pleases self rather than God. In order to be faithful to the Lord, one must be striving to walk in the light as He is in the light” (I John 1:7). This truth makes incumbent upon the one who would be a child of God, the responsibility of learning what God requires of His children in worship and service to Him and in his relationship with his fellow man. Paul told Timothy to “study to show thyself approved unto God” (II Tim. 2:15). Jesus told the Jews to “search the scriptures” (John 5:39). Luke said that those of Berea “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). John said to “try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). One cannot be faithful to the Father without knowing what the Father requires.
Time and space would prohibit a detailed list of all that is included in faithfulness to God, for it would include all that is found in the pages of His word. Yet, in order to get the mind pointed in the right direction for your consideration of the subject, we mention a couple of broad areas. God requires faithfulness to His word. Being faithful to a doctrine or teaching of mere men is not faithfulness to God. God requires faithfulness to His church. Jesus built His church (Matt. 16:18). God requires faithfulness to that body. Being faithful to a man-made religious institution is not faithfulness to God. God requires faithfulness in our worship of Him. God requires that we worship Him and worship Him in the manner that He has instructed (John 4:23-24). When we fail to worship when and how He has instructed, we have failed to be faithful to the Father. As you can see, these are broad areas, but consider the importance of being faithful to the Lord in these and in others as well. Your soul depends upon it.
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